Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Poland Gay Rights Update: Gays march in Warsaw

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From the beatroot blog:
Over 1000 gather peacfully at Plac Konstitucji, in the centre of the Polish capital, surrounded by several hundred police. Under gloomy skies and in light rain the demonstrators listened to speeches and music booming out of sound systems, as the rest of Warsaw did their Sunday shopping. The action came in response to violence from police and rightwing thugs in Poznan last weekend, when several protestors from the Campaign Against Homophobia were beaten and arrested. Left wing members of parliament from the SLD, SdLP, Greens and the Democratic Party gave suppport to the protest. An expected counter-demonstration from far-right politicians and hooligans did not happen - except for a small press conference from the League of Polish Families in the square. A handful of skinheads hung around the four corners of Plac Konstitucji, making calls on their mobiles (I was suprised that they seemed to know how to work them!) trying to get more of their little buddies to come along. The demonstration is part of a nationwide action this weekend involving six Polish cities, including Gdansk, where the local chapter of the Solidarity trade union gave its support.
Original source ======= What Polish gays are now going through can be compared to what American gays went through back in 1969 during the Stonewall riots. Polish LGBT folk have been crying out for support from LGBT folk across Europe. LGBT Americans should stand up to support their LGBT brothers and sisters in Poland NOW. A great article about the protests appears on the website of the Washington Blade. According to the article:
Poland — a conservative and Roman Catholic country that joined the EU last year — has been grappling with the issue of how far to go in accepting homosexuality, as gay rights groups grow more vocal. Unlike last Sunday's banned rally, local officials have authorized all of this weekend's planned demonstrations. The socially conservative Law and Justice party won recent parliamentary and presidential elections. The new government, led by Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz, favors traditional Roman Catholic values and opposes the legalization of gay marriage. President-elect Lech Kaczynski twice banned gay pride marches in Warsaw during his time as the capital's mayor.
The demonstrations within Warsaw were a reaction to the demonstration in the city of Poznan where gay rights activist, who were doing nothing more than participating in the right to peacefully assemble (a right Americans take for granted), were drug on the ground, beaten and arrested by police. You can view one of my earlier posts about that by clicking here. It surprises me that the media is ignoring what is happening in Poland, a formerly communist country which was also once controlled by the Nazis. How can you let human rights abuses in a formerly communist and Nazi country go unnoticed? It seems ludicrous to me.


It suprises me too that the US liberal media has not jumped on this. Some of the reactionary media have - see the freepies at freerepublic.com get all hot and bothered by it!

But the issue is not just Roman Catholicism. Spain is as catholic and they have just legalised gay 'marriage'. What Polish gays have to contend with is that for years under communism this sort of thing was not talked about. Lots of 'social problems' were not talked about. But now they are being talked about in Poland - big time. It's been the number one story here for the last couple of weeks and was an 'issue' in the elections in September and October.

So Poles are getting used to talking and battling about things that they never had to confront before.

So it might look very negative from where you are - and unconfortable for Polish gays in the short run - but it's positive too.